In an early warning sign of consumer weakness, Apple Inc. has slashed its 2008 NAND order forecast significantly and has informed suppliers that its demand growth will slow in 2008 compared to 2007, according to iSuppli sources. This is expected to have a huge impact on the NAND market.
With its extremely popular flash-memory based iPods, Apple was the world's third largest OEM buyer of NAND flash memory in 2007, with purchases of $1.2 billion, representing 13.1 percent of the global market, according to iSuppli's OEM Semiconductor Spend Analysis tool. Before word of Apple's warning, iSuppli had predicted the company's NAND flash purchases would rise by 32.2 percent this year, helping drive significant market growth.
On the supply side, slower NAND demand will have a major impact on suppliers’ financial results. Capital spending on NAND production will rise by more than 20 percent this year, ensuring easy availability of parts. This will cause prices to decrease. iSuppli believes that NAND prices already are below suppliers’ fully loaded costs.
Notablecalls: Note that most of AAPL's NAND comes from SNDK. Expect to see weakness in both.
NAND weakness most likely stems from iPods. This is not a complete surprise, but the situation looks somewhat more troubling than I previously thought.
Disclosure: No positions
Update: Forget what I said about shorting AAPL/SNDK. Given RIMM's guidance, CSCO upgrade from Citi and GRMN upgrade from Baird, just fugghedaboutit!